Finals glance: Heat-Spurs
A look at the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat (66-16 regular season, 12-5 playoffs) and San Antonio Spurs (58-24, 12-2), which begin Thursday night:
Heat: C Chris Bosh (12.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg), F Udonis Haslem (6.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg), F LeBron James (26.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 6.4 apg), G Dwyane Wade (14.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 4.9 apg), G Mario Chalmers (8.9 ppg, 3.5 apg).
Spurs: C Tim Duncan (17.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg), F Tiago Splitter (6.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg), F Kawhi Leonard (13.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg), G Danny Green (9.6 ppg, 4.1 apg), G Tony Parker (23.0 ppg, 7.2 apg.)
Heat: G Ray Allen (10.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg), F Chris Andersen (7.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg), G Norris Cole (7.1 ppg, 2.1 apg), F Shane Battier (4.3 ppg, 1.8 rpg), G/F Mike Miller (2.1 ppg, 1.4 rpg), C Joel Anthony (0.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg).
Spurs: G Manu Ginobili (11.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 5.4 apg), G Gary Neal (5.5 ppg, 0.6 apg), F Matt Bonner (5.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg), F Boris Diaw (4.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg), G Cory Joseph (3.4 ppg, 1.3 apg), F DeJuan Blair (4.0 ppg, 1.8 apg).
Heat, 2-0. Little can be taken from the regular- season series, with neither matchup featuring both teams at full strength. The Spurs rested Duncan, Parker, Ginobili and Danny Green in the first matchup, sending them home early before the Nov. 29 finale of their road trip, and Miami beat the guys who did stick around, 105-100. The Heat finished the sweep on March 31 at San Antonio despite playing without James, Wade and Chalmers, who they said were injured. Bosh averaged 20.5 points and 10.5 rebounds, hitting the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left in the road victory.
The Heat try to win their second straight title, while the Spurs seek their first since 2007 and fifth overall. They beat James to win their most recent one, a sweep of Cleveland, but the league’s MVP comes with plenty of help this time on a much more powerful Miami squad that had the league’s best record.
Wade. His Hall of Fame credentials should put him well beyond an “X-factor” category, but his health and recent shaky performances indicate that’s exactly what he is. He’s been battling knee pain and doesn’t appear capable of playing his best every night – his 21 points in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals were more than he totaled in the previous two games combined – and the question is whether he can put together four good performances now.
Prediction: Heat in 6.
Brian Mahoney, AP